Nine Tips for Homeschooling with Chronic Illness

Written By: JoJoisms - Sep• 15•14


September is the month most homeschoolers begin their new school year so I thought it was a good time to share some tips for homeschooling with chronic illness–especially since several of you asked me about this.  I’ve been living with chronic illness for many years and have been homeschooling for 14 so I’ve picked up a thing or two, or in this case, nine or ten.

What I’m going to share with you is a short list of things that have helped me, but I’d love for you all to post a comment with your tips and ideas or feedback.  I’d love to hear your story of homeschooling with chronic illness.

1. Use computer programs, CD roms instead of books

I discovered this because my son is getting older and has a love of the computer as well as a better focus when he learns via CD roms.  He’s has now passed me up in math and science.  It’s tough to teach your kid something you never learned. LOL  I started looking for these because I didn’t feel qualified to teach upper math and science so I found CD rom programs.  My favorites are from Teaching Textbooks (math) and Apologia (science).  I believe Abeka also has CD rom courses.  You can also find some online classes that might work for your child as well.

If this works for you and your child, it’s a great way to save you time and mental focus.  There are several online classes or CD roms that teach the course for you and all you need to do is follow up, grade and keep track of progress.

2. Have older kids help the younger ones

Kids love to feel helpful and older kids love to boss the younger siblings so this works out well all the way around.  My dd just loved to boss her little brother around.  In fact, she loved to boss lots of kids around. LOL  Have the older kids help the younger ones with the lessons.  You can either supervise or check up on their work and give tests.  It’s also a great way to get done with the school day a bit faster.  Mary can work with Jim while you work with Paul.

3. Be flexible: use mornings if they are better or evenings when dad is home

If you and your kids work better in the mornings, get up early and get school done. If you are more alert or have less pain in the afternoon, start later.  Possibly have dad get involved for certain subjects if things get a bit behind or you are having a health issue that doesn’t allow you to do much for a while.

4. School all year round

I don’t do this, but it works for others. If you school all year round, taking off two weeks for a really bad Fibro spell, isn’t as damaging to the school year.

5. Older kids have less face to face time.

Since older kids can do more work independently, you may only need to have short lessons where you explain the lesson and then correct their work.

6. Do less field trips

I LOVE field trips and so did my kids, but when you are feeling awful, it’s hard to get them there and/or walk around for hours at a museum.  If you can get someone you trust to drive them and be responsible for them, great.  If not, it’s time to cut back on the number of field trips you do…and DON’T feel guilty about it.

7. Find a designated driver

Do you have a friend who can drive your son to his guitar lesson for you or pick up your daughter for the Bible study?  Utilize the people in your life who want to help.  I always felt like I was intruding, but I found that there are many people who truly love to help.  Let them.

8. Make your life a big health class

Incorporate health lessons by having your kids learn about your condition.  Teach them about nutrition as you learn what keeps us healthy in general or you specifically.  Teach them as you learn and give them a head start on better health as you incorporate your time spent fighting your illness into a class for your children.  This is especially helpful to get the word out about chronic illness to the next generation.  So many don’t understand what we go through. The more you teach it, the more will know.  Maybe one day, your child will be the one who finds a cure!

9. Putting off school for a while

This is always my last resort, but it has come to pass this year.  I’ve always been able to soldier through and keep to our teaching schedule for all 14yrs I’ve homeschooled.  Unfortunately, last week I found out that on top of my other chronic illnesses, I also have gallbladder disease.  I am not able to eat much of anything without severe heartburn and digestive issues.  It’s hard to teach from the bathroom. lol  I will need surgery very soon and my son’s computer with all his homeschool programs and information on it just died.

We have ordered a power supply which should fix his computer, but it won’t be here until the end of this week (as I’m writing this) so we’ve lost almost an entire week anyway.  I see my surgeon on the same day and surgery will likely be scheduled for a week or so out.  Lastly, my dh’s car was declared a total loss by our insurance company because he ran into a flash flood puddle which quickly rose over his hood and damaged the engine.  So we dont’ have a car for me to drive him to co op classes even if I felt up to it.

So…we are postponing school for at least a week, if not two, in order to work those things out.  Sometimes, ya just gotta go with the flow.

One last tip I have for you is to pray.

God can give you a great idea for how to deal with homeschooling through your chronic illness that you or I would never have thought of.  Pray.  This probably should be number one and I would have put it there, but I guess I figured it was a given…til I got to the end and realized I hadn’t mentioned it. 😀

So that’s it for me.  Do you have any more tips for my readers? Please comment here.  Again, I’d love to hear your struggles with homeschooling with chronic illness so please leave a comment with your story as well.  God bless…


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  1. Hi JoJo! I agree with all of the above, having used most of these ideas myself. For the most part, I am healthy now, but I still have days when I’m not “up to par”. I use the Robinson Curriculum, Apologia for science, Saxon for math. The girls are very independent learners (hallelujah!!) and I’m not needed for the better part of the day. My life HAS become a year long health project for them! lol. And we go on field trips, etc. when I feel able. If that’s monthly, great, if not, such is life. God bless you in your health struggles and the stress of the move, etc.!! <3 Susan H.

  2. JoJoisms says:

    Thank you for sharing, Susan! So glad your health issues are mostly under control. I’m on my way, but not quite there yet.

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    You are quite welcome, Selene.

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